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Dinosaurs died out due to incubation period


Posted on Tuesday, 3 January, 2017 | Comment icon 15 comments

It took some dinosaurs up to six months to hatch. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Xenophon
A new theory has suggested that the dinosaurs became extinct because they couldn't hatch quickly enough.
The asteroid that struck the Earth at the end of the Cretaceous was unquestionably devastating, but while birds and mammals seemed to flourish after the disaster, the dinosaurs, which had ruled the planet for millions of years, struggled to survive and ultimately went extinct.

Now a new theory has suggested that this may have been because, unlike mammals, the dinosaurs had a particularly long incubation period that made it difficult for them to recover quickly enough.

The idea follows on from a new discovery by scientists at Florida State University and the University of Calgary who found that it is possible to calculate how long a dinosaur took to hatch by analyzing marks on the teeth of embryos and babies.

Using this new technique, the researchers were able to determine that the hatching process may have taken up to six months - an eternity compared to the incubation period of small mammals.

"Some of the greatest riddles about dinosaurs pertain to their embryology, virtually nothing is known," said biological scientist Professor Gregory Erickson.

"We suspect our findings have implications for understanding why dinosaurs went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period, whereas amphibians, birds, mammals and other reptiles made it through and prospered."

Source: Telegraph | Comments (15)

Tags: Dinosaurs

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by Carnoferox on 5 January, 2017, 2:59
Just a ceratopsian (Protoceratops) and hadrosaur (Hypacrosaurus), so even further limited to the Cerapoda. The results are not indicative of the Dinosauria as a whole, but rather this more limited clade.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Alston on 6 January, 2017, 1:30
Interesting theory. The meteor/asteroid extinction theory never really made sense to me, especially since birds and other forms of reptiles still exist today. Crocodiles I think are very ancient.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Carnoferox on 6 January, 2017, 2:28
If you actually read the paper, they are NOTproposing incubation rates as a cause of extinction. The impact theory is still the most widely accepted, with plenty of evidence supporting it (iridium layers, shocked quartz, magnetic anomalies, tsunami depositsetc.). Also note that only two species from the limited clade Cerapoda were sampled, meaning that the results aren't evenindicative of incubation rates for the whole Dinosauria. The article (not the paper) is the one suggesting that long incubation rates contributed to dinosaur extinction, following the popular and very outdated misconcep... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by Frank Merton on 6 January, 2017, 3:06
The message I got was not that the slower development caused extinction, but that it was a major factor in why dinosaurs did not survive the catastrophe. I guess scenarios that would support this are not hard to think up. One thing to keep in mind was that this was not a matter of, "Oh, you are a dinosaur, ZAP; oh, you are a bird, you pass." The vast majority of birds and everything else was killed -- what survived was probably a very few lucky individuals who happened to somehow survive (or their eggs).
Comment icon #10 Posted by Carnoferox on 6 January, 2017, 3:15
As I've already stated, the paper was limited to only two species, so average incubation rates for the whole Dinosauria remain unknown. I also said that many clades ofreptiles, birds, and mammalswent extinct during the K-Pg event. I think you might be confusing my wordswith Alston's.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Frank Merton on 6 January, 2017, 3:29
Yea, I read that, but found the criticism wanting. By the way, what people post isn't always about what you post.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Carnoferox on 6 January, 2017, 4:08
When you quote someone it usually means you are talking about what they havesaid. When you talk about someone else it is confusing.
Comment icon #13 Posted by paperdyer on 6 January, 2017, 19:20
So it might be possible that not all dinos were cold blooded! Now if some their cold blooded cousins, gators, crocs and snakes could have been devastated as well.....
Comment icon #14 Posted by Carnoferox on 6 January, 2017, 19:24
Many paleontologists think that dinosaurs would have been either endothermic ("warm-blooded") or mesothermic (in between "warm-blooded" and "cold-blooded"), rather than ectothermic ("cold-blooded"). This has been knownfor the past few decades.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Alston on 6 January, 2017, 19:59
It makes you wonder though, what caused these species to survive? What conditions they live under that enabled them to survive? Things that make you go hmmm...


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